There is nothing quite like seeing some cold hard cash up close. However, not everyone has huge wads of cash to gaze upon... But they can make their way to a currency museum to see some big bucks up close and personal. Visitors to these museums can trace the currency of a country all the way back to where it began. In some countries visitors will even get to see how come culture utilized items like bones and teeth as a form of payment before metal coins were ever a thought.
1. Museum Of Australian Currency Notes, Sydney, Australia
The Museum of Australian Currency Notes tells the story of Australian currency against the backdrop of the country's economic and social development. Originally the native aboriginals did not have currency; the country used a bartering system up until the 1800s. The country’s first currency was gold coins, but even then they lacked a federal currency. Up until the 1960s the currency of Australia changed several times as the monarchy tried to reflect economic changes within the country. In 1988, the country embraced the polymer currency that it uses today. The museum, located in the Reserve Bank, takes visitors through a detailed explanation of Australia's currency and the Reserve Bank itself.
2. Currency Museum, Tokyo, Japan
The Currency Museum in the Bank of Japan collects, conserves and studies the cultural and economic changes that the country has undergone in its currency. Japan has had a long history with minted coins dating back to the 7th century. While Japan used coins modeled after Chinese currency, it used copper coins that were different in each region. It wasn't until after switching to the commodity money of rice and silk, that the country formed a centralized currency in the 16th century. Because Japan has such a long history with currency, the museum located in the Bank of Japan has an amazing collection of all the old coins that have been used. As many of the ancient currencies were influenced by China and other Asian countries, this museum also contains examples from those countries as reference material.
3. Currency Museum, Ottawa, Canada
The Currency Museum in Ottawa houses the largest collection of Canadian money and monetary objects in the world. It chronicles the evolution of Canadian currency from pre-colonial times to the present. However, this museum also traces the origins of money in different cultures around the world, making it something of a one –stop-shop for those curious about money. The most popular attraction in the is the three-ton Yap stone. This doughnut shape carved disk of calcite was used as currency in Micronesia. As the stones were so difficult to obtain and took around 20 adult men to move, the value of these stones were kept high.
4. RBI Monetary Museum, Mumbai, India
The Reserve Bank of India believes that money is an intrinsic component in the cultural heritage of a country. The Monetary Museum of India aims to preserve this heritage, especially as India was one of the earliest issuers of coinage in the world. The museum documents the Indian history of coinage from the 6th century, through the origins of the banking industry under British colonization, to the country’s adoption of paper money in the 18th century. The museum hosts the largest collection of ancient currency in the world.
5. Currency Museum Of The Central Bank Of Nigeria, Garki, Nigeria
Most of the world has virtually no knowledge of Nigerian currency, which makes this museum incredibly interesting. While Nigeria doesn't have the long history with coins that Japan or India does, it does have a long history with currency. The Central Bank of Nigeria has only been in existence since 1957, but its museum has collected mediums of exchange that have existed since ancient times. Before there was a centralized currency in Nigeria, the different regions each used different currencies. A popular medium of exchange was the brass bangle. This currency was easily transportable as it was able to be worn on the wrist. Women, however, had a different currency called a Cowry. Like the brass bangle, this currency was worn on the wrist, but was made of what was considered to be the lesser material of cowry shells. This medium of exchange is long gone now, with Nigeria adopting paper money in the 60s, shortly after the Central Bank of Nigeria was created. However, it is intriguing to learn of an era where a person's wealth could literally be worn on their sleeve.
6. China Currency Museum, Beijing, China
The China Currency Museum focuses upon the collection, exhibition and the study of currencies throughout the history. Like with many countries the first form of currency in China was the cowry shell, which was used around 4,000 years ago, and was later bronzed to give higher value. The Chinese were thought to have made the first metal coin in 900 BC, which was found in a tomb near Anyang and is on display in the museum. This metal coin predates any other metal coin in the world, making it an artifact of great importance.
7. Central Bank Museum of Coins And Notes, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The Central Bank Museum of Coins and Notes is the newest currency museum in the world. Opened in December of 2013, the museum served as celebration to the 40th anniversary of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. Now the museum serves to showcase the history of the bank's current currency notes, as well as the coins and commemorative coins that have been made in the country. There are several special sections in the museum where they showcase not only their own collection, but the collections of interested guests from abroad. Currency collectors from all over the world are scheduled to display their collections for months at a time over the next five years.
8. Deutsch Bundsbank Money Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
The Deutsch Bundsbank Money Museum in Frankfurt is separated into six different educational stages: What Different Types of Money There are and How is it Produced?, Money – What Makes it Valuable?, Stable Money – Why does it Pay Off?, The Central Bank – What is its Structure and What does it do?, Monetary Policy – How Does it Work?, and Foreign Exchange Policy – What is its Impact? Exhibits about German money can be found on the massive fourth stage that studies the central bank. The museum hosts 350,000 pieces of different currency from around the world, starting with the various bones that were used as mediums of exchange by German tribes.
9. Virtual Money Museum, Richmond, Virginia
Those who can't travel can visit this currency museum right from the comfort of their living room. The Virtual Money Museum has an actual location in Virginia, but it also hosts its tours online. The Federal Reserve Bank showcases the full range of its exhibits, from Colonial America all the way to the modern United States. This includes money-related artifacts, primitive money and medieval and ancient coins from other countries around the world.